Home Chef: Making Perfect Steak Fries with David LeFevre
"How do you feel about the fries at In-N-Out?" asks chef David LeFevre. We wrinkle our nose and wonder how such a good fast-food burger can be accompanied by such awful, soggy, lumpen fries. Fortunately, we're in good company. LeFevre, the longtime Water Grill chef who recently decamped to Manhattan Beach to launch his own restaurant, hates In-N-Out's fries as much as we do.
Guzzle & Nosh Chef David LeFevre (left); the steak fries at M.B. Post (right)
At his new eatery, M.B. Post, he has one cook whose sole job during dinner service is to churn out batch after batch of Fe Fi Fo Fum Fries. LeFevre does this, not just to insure the fries come out the way he wants but because they have become one of the most popular items since the restaurant opened in mid-April. These are Brobdingnagian steak fries, thick as a giant's finger and easily running eight inches long.
Guzzle and Nosh MB Post: Fries with Ketchup and Fry Sauce
In-N-Out's fries are cut from real potatoes and made fresh. That's the good news. Unfortunately, they're fried only once, so they're still rife with moisture, which the begin exuding rapidly as soon as they leave the hot oil. Eat the fries immediately, and they're great. Three minutes out of the fryer, and they've already turned soggy.
All the best fries, LeFevre explains, are at fried at least two, maybe three times. At M.B. Post, the steak fries, are fried four times, at precise intervals in carefully syncopated 32-minute process. Even if you don't have an armada of deep-fryers at the ready, you can take LeFevre's technique to your kitchen and make the perfect steak fries: crisp and golden on the outside, fluffy as a pillow on the inside.
[NOTE: If you have not done any deep-frying, read up on all the proper safety measures and make sure you have the right equipment BEFORE you attempt this technique. Don't mess around with this stuff. Hot oil is dangerous!]
Slice off a sliver on the flattest side of the potato (this is so you have less scrap).
Turn the potato on its flat side, cut it into three large sections.
Slice each section lengthwise into large steak fries. Remove any dark spots.
Soak them in cold water to get out the starch and make them more pieces.